I'm here at TechEd, and we just announced that Visual Studio "Orcas" is now officially Visual Studio 2008.

Also, we announced a new product that is being called the Visual Studio Shell that will be released with Visual Studio 2008. There are 2 different "flavors" of the shell, integrated and isolated.

  • Integrated
    • This is the core Visual Studio Shell with all the Microsoft provided languages/tools removed. It remains branded as "Microsoft Visual Studio". If the user already has installed (or later installs) a different edition of Visual Studio (Standard, Pro, Team), your package integrates with everything else. (E.g. if you're a language vendor...if you install the shell in integrated mode plus your language, only your language and templates appear in the "New Project" dialog. If the user then installs Visual Studio Standard, they will also get VB/C#/C++ alongside your language.)
    • This is usually the right scenario if you have your own language or developer tool that could run on it's own, or integrate if the user has a full edition of Visual Studio installed.
    • If you've ever used the Team Foundation Client, you've already been using this. In VS 2002-2005, this was called the Premier Partner Edition. The major change here is that this will be freely distributable in Visual Studio 2008.
  • Isolated
    • The Visual Studio Shell (isolated) is a re-brandable, extensible version of just the shell components. Have you ever had to write an application, but wished you had something like the Visual Studio ToolWindow system (think Solution Explorer/Output Window/Properties Window/etc...)? How about a menu/toolbar system? How about a document editing/windowing system? How about being able to brand it completely as your own application for either internal or external use? How about getting those royalty free? That is what we will deliver with the Visual Studio Shell (Isolated).
    • Your Visual Studio Shell based application lives entirely independent from Visual Studio. End users are not required to have Visual Studio installed on the machine.

We will be making versions of the Visual Studio Shell available to VSIP partners when Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 ships later this summer. It will be freely available on the web when Visual Studio 2008 is released.

Stay tuned for more information on the Visual Studio Shell and getting started with it over the coming months.